Self-quarantining with my sister and my 4-month old niece in Washington Heights has been bittersweet. Our zip code is home to the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this illness disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized, both of whom live in our upper Manhattan neighborhood.

Last week, my sister peered out of our peephole and watched a homeless man who was visibly ill dragged from our lobby by the police. Days before, we rented a car and drove down to my niece’s vaccination appointment. I wiped everything with bleach and held her tiny hand as my sister drove through the rain.

It’s scary knowing that missing a spot could get my sister or her daughter sick. It’s sobering thinking about the man in our lobby, or the men who dragged him away, or our super and his assistant who entered the space, moments later, with a broom and a mop wet with Fabuloso.

Our zipcode is home to the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

– Sophia Little

But it’s also sweet to knock on my sister’s door and commiserate about how afraid we are, to plan when we will go outside next—and how we will get undressed and sanitize our belongings when we return from that necessary trip. It’s sweet to watch my niece sleep and to watch her wake up every morning with a smile, even though the world outside may be frightening.

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